“Filler Injections”

crosswords for these troubling times

by Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 2.5/5

Great news! The good folks at Boswords are re-running their Spring Themeless League. “Preseason” puzzle goes up 2/28. It’s a weekly crossword competition that runs on Monday evenings (you have several days to solve the weekly puzzle if you can’t solve live). They stream the proceedings on Twitch, including featured solvers and interviews with the puzzle constructors. The puzzles are high quality and the chat is lively; it’s a great way to meet like-minded puzzleheads.

And! The semi-official Boswords After Party also goes down on the Cursewords Live stream! Parker and I have cooked up some new emotes that I’m itching to fire off in the chat. While the Spring Themeless League is in effect, we’ll be streaming on Mondays directly after they conclude at 10p est (as well as on Thursdays at 9pm).

Thoughts and spoilers for “Filler Injections” below.

I had originally built this out as a 21×21 grid (see inset), but ultimately it felt like the conceit was definitely more of a daily-sized concept. You *can* sustain an addition puzzle with whacky answers like this one, but in this particular case the revealer gives you both a) the “addended” material and b) the exact location of the material to be added. So. Doing that four times felt like a happier ask than doing it 7+ times.

That’s all for now! I just got to Panama City, FL with my whole immediate family + spouses + children. 12 souls aboard. God help the owner of the rental property we’ve already begun to dismantle.

Happy solving, friends!


18 Responses

  1. Charles Montpetit says:

    Loved 15a, but 71a outshone it in terms of pure evil. As for the 21×21 that never was (pity), I can’t help but wonder how you would have clued that second entry on the last row…

  2. Parker says:

    Never a bad Rossword but this one was my favorite in a while! Super fun and I got got more than a few times

  3. Rich says:


    OK even if some of these entries seemed like a cry for help (I’m looking at you, 31A, 13D and 27D), and the word GREBE is new to me, I have to applaud the *great* cluing for 71A and 20D. And a nice generational jump (from Cold War to video games) for 21A.

    I don’t get 68A, however, why is a PLATE a pentagonal home? I might quibble also with the clue for 1A, I like the fingers=digits trick, but technically don’t ARMS end in wrists, and it’s hands that end in digits? That’s just my “off the cuff” reaction, ha ha.

  4. Jeff says:

    The clue/answer at 52A was brilliant! And the clue on 27D maned my day; neigh, my month.

  5. Adam says:

    Very fun, and sorting out the SW (I initially had JAB/ENJOY), particularly 71A, led to a nice “aha” moment.

    And the revealer is just awesome! I tried my hand at a similar theme last year, with answers like “OK BOOMERANG” and “EITHER ORANG” โ€”ย much less effective than this one, not least because I didn’t have a sparkling revealer like this one.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      I love the end result of OK, BOOMERANG! I couldn’t agree more though–these addition concepts need a) readily identifiable base phrases, b) amusing resulting permutations (like OK BOOMERANG), and c) a raison d’รชtre that justifies the journey!

  6. johnjerseycoast says:

    DNF in the SW corner and I even considered the ultimately correct answers. A genius theme. Also finished last weeks “plaything” this weekend. IC what U did there ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Elaine Walizer says:

      I loved the “Fauci ouchie” clue and confidently entered JAB. (Too many Brit mysteries, maybe..) It messed me up in the SW for quite a while. Pretty funny when I got the theme (after CARROT AND STICKER didn’t quite work.)

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Ah! You must have fallen into the JAB/VAX trap ๐Ÿชค I wonder if Iโ€™ve ever put DNF in a puzzleโ€ฆ probably not!

      • johnjerseycoast says:

        I got VAX right off and even considered YAXES as well as PLATE but did not get the baseball reference until I read the blog. Yes, could have a lot of fun with DNF. I remember it as an academic reference, something short of Failure, but sure it has other meanings.

      • Jaye says:

        I had VAX right away, and then switched it to JAB when I realized 62A was ENJOY THE MOMENTUM. So Boswords is gonna go great!

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